The preventable death of a loved one is one of the worst tragedies we can experience. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of another party, your family has legal rights. You may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible for your loved one’s death.

At the Cottle Firm, our Paradise wrongful death accident lawyers help families fight for the financial compensation they deserve after the preventable death of a loved one. Contact us today to learn more about your family’s legal options in a free consultation.

What Is Wrongful Death?

In Nevada, a person can be held liable for wrongful death if they unlawfully caused the death of another person. This includes any death that occurs due to the legal fault of another party, such as negligence-based accidents like car accidents, medical malpractice, and intentional acts.

According to Nevada state law NRS 41.085, “when the death of any person, whether or not a minor, is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another, the heirs of the decedent and the personal representatives of the decedent may each maintain an action for damages against the person who caused the death.”

When someone is injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another party, that person typically has grounds for a personal injury claim. A wrongful death claim is also based on negligence but is instead filed by the victim’s family, who may be awarded financial compensation for damages related to the death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by one or both of two parties:  the personal representative of the victim’s estate or the victim’s surviving family (legally known as the intestate heirs). If the victim was married, their surviving spouse and children would be heirs and would have the right to file a wrongful death claim. For unmarried victims without children, the wrongful death lawsuit may be filed either by their parents or siblings, or the closest surviving family member.

The claim must be filed within Nevada’s two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. If a family member has lost their life due to the negligence, recklessness, or malice of another party, you should consider speaking with an experienced Paradise wrongful death accident lawyer about your legal rights as soon as possible.

Common Types of Wrongful Death Accidents

Any accident caused by negligence, recklessness, or with intention to harm meets the definition of wrongful death. However, some types of accidents are especially common. Below are some of the most common types of wrongful death cases handled by our Paradise wrongful death law firm.

Auto Accidents

If you lost a family member in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver. According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle collisions are the top three causes of accidental death in the United States. Sadly, many of these collisions are preventable and only occur due to the negligence of a driver or another third party.

Certain driving behaviors significantly increase the risk of an auto accident, and some behaviors are more likely to result in severe or fatal injuries. Some of the most common causes of fatal car accidents in Nevada include:

  • Driving under the influence – Drunk drivers are the most common cause of fatal auto accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk drivers are involved in about 31% of all U.S. traffic deaths.
  • Speeding – Speeding is another leading cause of traffic deaths, accounting for 29% of all fatal crashes in the United States. 
  • Distracted driving – Distractions like cell phones, food, or adjusting the radio all take our attention away from the road. Even just a one-second glance can lead to a car accident if the driver misses something and is unable to react in time. 

Large Truck Accidents

Due to their massive size and weight, large semi-trucks are much more likely to cause fatal injuries in a collision. According to the NSC, In 2021, large trucks accounted for 9% of all vehicles involved in fatal accidents. That year, about 5,700 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, while another 117,300 were involved in crashes that caused non-fatal injuries. Occupants of other vehicles accounted for 72% of all deaths in large-truck crashes, while truck occupants accounted for 17%. 

If you have lost a loved one in a large truck accident caused by the truck driver, you may have grounds for legal action against one or more parties. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the driver, their employer, or another negligent third party could all potentially be held liable for wrongful death damages.  Contact our truck accident attorney.

Workplace Accidents

Fatal workplace accidents can happen anywhere, but are especially common among fishing and hunting workers, construction workers, logging workers, roofers, and agricultural workers, among other categories. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), transportation accidents were the most common cause of workplace deaths in 2021. Other common causes included falls, slips, or trips, workplace violence, and exposure to harmful substances or environments.

Work injury claims are much different than non-work-related claims. If an employee dies in a work-related accident, their family would have the right to file a workers’ comp claim to receive death benefits, which include two-thirds of the employee’s average monthly wages plus burial expenses. However, work injuries and work-related deaths are both typically only covered by workers’ comp benefits, and injured workers and their families usually cannot file a lawsuit.

If the fatal work accident victim was an independent contractor, their family may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. This is because independent contractors are typically not covered by workers’ comp, so a lawsuit is often the only way to provide the family with damages.

Medical Malpractice

If a patient dies due to the negligence or reckless conduct of their doctor, that doctor could potentially be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Some of the most common forms of medical malpractice that can be fatal for patients include:

  • Surgical errors
  • Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis
  • Failure to treat
  • Birth injuries
  • Prescription drug errors
  • Anesthesia errors

Defective Products

All companies have a legal duty to ensure the safety of their products. If a dangerously defective product is released to the market and ends up causing fatal injuries, the families of the victims may have grounds for a product liability wrongful death lawsuit against the product manufacturer. Product liability claims are also an option for those who suffer non-fatal injuries caused by defective products.

Paradise Wrongful Death Accident FAQ

What Damages Are Available For Wrongful Death in Nevada?

If a wrongful death lawsuit is filed and the court finds the defendant responsible for the victim’s death, the family can receive damages for various difficulties they face. Financial compensation for such damages can also be awarded in a settlement.

The following types of damages are available in Nevada wrongful death claims:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical expenses for treatment of the fatal injuries
  • Lost wages and benefits that the deceased would have earned
  • Loss of companionship from the deceased
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain, suffering, or disfigurement experienced by the victim before their death
  • Punitive damages in cases of malice or gross negligence

Who Pays For Settlements and Damages in Wrongful Death Claims?

A wrongful death claim is typically filed against the negligent party’s insurance provider. For example, if someone was killed in a car accident caused by another negligent driver, that victim’s family could file a wrongful death claim against the other driver’s insurance carrier. If the fatal accident occurred due to a hazardous condition on someone else’s property, the claim would likely be filed against the homeowner or renter’s insurance carrier.

Remember that insurance companies are big businesses and will prioritize their profits above all else. In some cases, they may attempt to deny coverage or dispute the allegations to avoid paying out damages. This is why families who are considering filing wrongful death claims should speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer. At the Cottle Firm, our Paradise wrongful death lawyers understand how to deal with insurance companies and fight for fair financial compensation for our clients.

What Needs to Be Proven in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Each case is unique, so the necessary evidence will vary. However, generally speaking, the following four things must be proven to secure damages or a settlement in a wrongful death claim in Nevada:

  • The defendant acted negligently, recklessly, or with the intent of harming the victim
  • The defendant’s behavior caused the victim’s death
  • The victim has surviving relatives, such as a spouse or children
  • These surviving relatives suffered financial damages related to their loved one’s death

Contact Our Paradise Wrongful Death Accident Lawyers

No family should be faced to take on unmanageable financial burdens when mourning the loss of a loved one in a preventable accident. At the Cottle Firm, our Paradise wrongful death accident lawyers help our clients fight for the financial compensation they need and deserve for the difficulties they are facing. Contact us today to learn more about your family’s legal rights.